Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

When joycreation was born in 2010, my goal was to make it a light and happy place. As the name states, it was supposed to be a place of creativity and joy. An avid blog reader myself, I love all the beauty, creativity and inspiration you can find out there. However, at some point that’s not enough. At some point you long for more substance.

On March 29, Jess Constable of Makeunder My Life created and published the very first list of “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You”. Little did she know, her post would inspire an entire movement among bloggers, all willing to come out with their not-so-nice truths. Together with her friends Erin and Nichole, Ez of Creature Comforts was the first to spread the word, and it was the three of them, who designed the image you can see above. Recently, Laura Rossi wrote an entire article about it, which you can find on Huffington Post.

I’ve been following this movement ever since, and the more I read, the more I felt compelled to share my own list of Things I’m Afraid To Tell You. So, a couple of weeks ago I posted in Blogstar, one of the wonderful blogger forums I’m honored to be a member of, and asked others to join me. Four people responded, and then the wonderful Robin of Farewell Stranger brought along even more bloggers. The result: another round of things we’re afraid to tell you!

Here’s my list. 

1. I’m not religious. I don’t think I ever have been. At the very most I would describe myself as spiritual. I think of myself as open-minded towards and curious about different belief systems, but I have zero tolerance for people who use religion to discriminate against others.

Are you still with me?

2. I have commitment issues. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to my relationship with my partner Dave, but certainly to areas related to school, my career path and hobbies. I have started way more in life, than I have completed. As a matter of fact, there is nothing I’d rather do right now, than bail on this very post in front of you! (and I’m the one who initiated this week’s round! What was I thinking?). Which brings us to #3.

3. I never finished my undergrad degree. You could blame it on the fact that I began supporting myself at the age of 18 and that I was more committed to work, than my studies. Or that I left Germany, and moved to the U.S. (where schools cost more than a fortune, if you hadn’t heard). Or maybe, that I wasn’t passionate about the things I was pursuing. Or I lacked trust in my abilities to pursue my passion. Or maybe I needed to learn different things first, being that parts of my twenties were overshadowed by an eating disorder, anxiety, depression and self-doubt.  I think the truth is a blend of all of these. But, here’s the bottom line: I don’t have a degree. And I’ve been downright ashamed of it. At age 33 I’m ready to go for it. I’ll keep you updated :)

4. I deal with social anxiety. A lot. I worry about what others think (I’m worrying about what YOU’RE thinking right now!). I worry about not being liked. I feel responsible for other people’s actions. I worry about not being smart enough. Funny enough. I seem to read people’s facial expressions more than necessary (which leads to all sorts of interpretations).  Believe it or not, I could continue this list. My natural inclination is to avoid uncomfortable situations, so I’ve turned down many invitations over the past years and let phone calls go unreturned. Obviously, this has caused others to feel rejected and hurt, and I feel horrible about that.  I am working really hard on breaking this pattern.

5. I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire. It’s embarrassing. That doesn’t mean I’m not able to make deadlines. If I really need to have something in by a certain time, you’ll get it on time. However, you won’t want to know the last minute scrambling that went into it.

6. I’m horrible at sending out Thank You and Holiday cards. Horrible. You would think it’s solely related to having to write the card (which has been true in many, many cases. I dread having to write cards, in either language). But there have been several occasions on which I’ve written them, without ever sending them off. Every now and then I come across one of such cards. I can’t even get myself to toss them! If I do make it to the post office,  it’s usually on the day they were supposed to arrive. Or later. I really need to work on this one.

7. As an adult it has been difficult for me to make new friends (after reading #3, 4 and 6, this may not be a surprise.) If I feel an instant connection, I’m able to trust fairly easily and it’s likely we’ll be good friends in no time. However, these kinds of connections seem harder and harder to find. And this is where it gets tricky: for many years I found it a ‘waste of time’ to invest in anyone I didn’t feel a certain connection with (very convenient attitude for one with social anxiety). While I used to think, that wanting to have in depth friendships was as a positive trait, I’m starting to find it a rather limiting way of navigating the world. After all, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. It might as well be a nice blend of different types of levels of connection. As I’ve moved to a different continent, switched careers and have become older, I’ve found myself longing not only for my far-away friends, but also for more local connections. (I know, it’s quite a contradiction to #4!)  I want to become more open to others, instead of setting myself up for social failure. Sometimes relationships take a while to evolve, and I don’t seem to give them a chance. I want to change that.

8.  I come from a broken family. I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud, mainly because I don’t like the picture associated with “broken”, but the reality is: it’s messed up. My parents divorced when I was four, and throughout most of my life I haven’t had any contact to my father.  Per his choice he ended all contact for many, many years of my upbringing. I don’t think of him as a “bad” person, rather as someone who has had his own set of issues. Which shouldn’t sound like an excuse (because really, there are not many excuses for dumping your own child). I also have a younger half-sister, whom I met once, shortly after she was born, when I was five. However, my father never was involved in her life either and as an adult I never felt the urge or necessity to make contact with her.

My family has always been spread across several countries, and so my mother didn’t have any direct family support, when I was small. Given the circumstances, I think she did an amazing job at making the best of the situation. She also created a wonderful network of friends that have been part of our lives, ever since I was small. So, maybe that’s why I don’t like to use the word broken. Because, really – even though my mother worked full-time – she always made sure I was surrounded by loving people. There are many more things I admire about my mother, such as her positivity, elegance and strength. However, mother-daughter relationships aren’t always easy and our relationship has gone through many ups and downs, and continue to do so.

9. Dave is a whopping 16 1/2 years older than me. Most people are stunned, when they find out about his actual age, because he looks about 10 years younger. For the most part the age difference hasn’t been an issue for us or our families, however, it does make future (and family) planning a little more challenging. Also, I’m always afraid of him dying. But that’s another topic.

Phew.

Now I could go on, but that’s good for today. Thank you for bearing with me, and I hope I’m not losing my small, and faithful group of readers with this one post (refer to #4.)  As you can imagine, I’ll be a nervous bundle after I hit the publish button.  Any comment love will be much appreciated :)

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34 thoughts on “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You

  1. Erin

    Lisa!! I’m so glad you didn’t bail on the post :) your honesty is so inspiring. I can totally relate to #1, #4, and #6… My family never practiced any organized religion, I never went to church growing up, or any of that jazz. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person. I know for some people, their religion is extremely important to them and I’m fine with that, great for them! I just know organized religions aren’t for me… It’s so hard to admit, but I often worry about what others think of me. I wish I didn’t care, maybe someday I’ll get to that point. I’ll often analyze and re-analyze an interaction trying to figure out what he/she meant by what they said… it’s exhausting. And sending out thank you cards? Oh girrrl, I’m awful. I actually need to send someone a thank you card right now regarding my new york trip. I’m sure I’ll just procrastinate until it’s too late to send… sighhh. Anyhoo, I’m so proud of you and I’m so happy you asked me to be a part of this awesome movement of honest blogging! THANK YOU!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Aw, Erin! Thank you for your kind words! I’m so glad I’m not alone in this! (especially the thank you notes, man-o-man! :)) Thank you for joining me in this (loved reading your post!) and for all your support in general! It’s so much appreciated!

      Reply
      1. Erin

        Thank youuu, Lisa!! I’m so happy to have met you. Your support and comments mean the world to me. It’s so wonderful to know I’m not alone in my blog fears and perfectionist ways. I’m so excited to watch both of our blogs grow and succeed. I know we can do it :)

        Reply
  2. Caroline

    Lisa! You did it! How do you feel? I was totally freaking after I wrote mine a couple of weeks ago.

    Okay, so #1–I think there are so many paths to what makes us feel connected to something spiritually either aligning ourself with religion or not. I’m all about what works for a person to feel like a better persona as long as what makes them a better person doesn’t mean they are intolerant of others. I am 100% disgusted by intolerance. Totally with you.
    My husband is 9 years older than me–he’s 45, I’m 36–so I think about losing him when we’re older. I know what you mean.
    LOVED this so much. You are such a tremendous light in this world. I am so glad I met you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Caroline, oh, you have no idea how much your words mean to me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart! It feels so good to know that there are others, who feel similar. And yes, I too am so very glad we have met! Now that things have calmed down a little bit (I’ve been quite stressed over this post), I look forward to taking some time to explore your blog. I place I always love coming back to!

      Reply
  3. Sandra

    Lisa – thanks so much for hanging in there and finishing this post and pressing “publish”. Was it as scary as you had imagined? I know for me, I really do like the lovely beauty design-y arty stuffs on blogs AND I love getting to know the person creating all that loveliness too.

    And I can so relate to the figuring out the variety of friendships – I’d prefer to have a few deeper ones but having situational ones or more casual ones is fine too. Net net, though, it IS harder to make friends once we’re all in regular life. The time factor is a big one.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Sandra, you’re so sweet – thank you! It’s funny: by the time I was finally ready to publish, I had already gone through all the emotions, and was just determined to finally get this out there. I hardly thought about it for the rest of the day (partially, because I was surrounded by the cutest toddler you could imagine :) I take care of him during the week). I’m glad I’m not alone in figuring out the friendship part. Yes, time IS a factor and I’m so very protective of the little time I have! I too love the mix of art/design and personal. Now I need to work on including a few more photos of myself – I’ve been avoiding this… :)

      Reply
  4. Susan

    I am not religious, either and it was the first thing that popped into my head when I sat down to write my TIATTY post. It’s sad that being non-religious has become something to be ashamed of or worth being judged for. Today, with my post, I have vowed not to hide my beliefs as an atheist any more. I won’t go shouting from the rooftops (I hate when religious folks do that), but I’m not going to hide, either.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Susan, thanks so much for joining this round of TIATTY! It’s wonderful to connect! The religion part was one of the first things to pop into my head too! And I know, if I were still living in Germany, the topic would have not even crossed my mind! In the U.S. however, religion has so much more weight and I felt it was important to let people know, where I stand. When I first moved here, a new friend of mine asked me, if I was a Christian. Per my (European) definition, being a Christian meant being baptized. And baptized I am. It didn’t take very long for me to find out how very different our definitions were. I’m sure my friend must have felt betrayed, after she learned more about my actual views (not that I was shouting them from the roof tops, either :)) I’m so glad you have decided not to hide anymore. We need more tolerance in this world!

      Reply
  5. Kristin @littlemamajama

    Love your honesty. I have social anxiety, too, and the whole difficulty making friends thing. I’ve started hearing this from a lot of people lately, though, so maybe we all have this problem as we get older? It takes more time to cultivate those relationships as adults.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Kristin, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad I’m not alone with this. I’ve been surrounded by extroverts, so it’s easy to think I’m alone with this issue (which of course is nonsense :)). Thanks so much for joining this round – I loved your post and will comment soon!

      Reply
  6. sheri

    “While I used to think, that wanting to have in depth friendships was as a positive trait, I’m starting to find it a rather limiting way of navigating the world.” – Wow. I’ve never met anyone other than myself who felt this way. It took me so long (and many missed opportunities) to learn about the “gray areas” of friendship. Your piece has resonated with me in a way that no other has so far (and there have been SO many!) – it felt true, not at all staged and I’m sure not easy to get through. I give you so much credit for doing this and am truly, truly grateful – personally for what you’ve shared. xoxo

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Sheri, your words touch me more than I can even express right now. I’m humbled, and so very honored that you feel this way. The friendship part has been a very recent recognition and I’m still working on walking the talk :) Thanks for all your support, always! I’m so very glad to have met you. You’re wonderful!

      Reply
  7. Shoko

    This is WONDERFUL, Lisa! You are so brave for writing it. I’m loving learning more about you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Shoko, I’m so glad I didn’t scare you off :) Thank you for all your support – I feel so very lucky to have you as one of my readers and friends!

      Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Ugh, I know that feeling! Leaving comments and/or responding to comments I’ve received never comes easily to me. I think that’s why I’m not as efficient at it. I always want to make sure I’m saying the right thing/am acknowledging the other person enough. It’s gotten better over the last months, but phew, it still gives me anxiety. At the same time I love reading comments and leaving them for others too. I hope some day, I’ll manage to worry much, much less!

      Reply
  8. Leslie

    Lisa,
    This was such a brave post. I can tell how much self-reflection went into composing it. You really opened yourself up to us.

    It’s funny about your number one–I am actually quite religious and write about that a lot, but worry that my particular beliefs will make people not like me!

    I like what you wrote about different levels of friendship, too. Thanks for starting this next wave! I look forward to reading the rest of them over the next few days.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Leslie, thank you so much for spreading the word today and for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. You have no idea how much that means to me! I’m fairly new to your blog, but so far none of your posts have made me dislike you. Quite on the contrary. I love the way you write, as well as your depth. I look forward to exploring your blog more!

      Reply
  9. Melanie

    Lisa, I’m definitely still with you. It is crazy how much harder it is to make new friends when we get older. I’ve made more friends through blogging than anything else I’ve done since I was 25.

    Yeah…I have the fear of my husband (and child) dying too. That was a whole post for me too.

    I’m so happy to “know” you. xoxo

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Aw, Melanie – I feel the same way! Thank you, THANK YOU! I think you’re right – with blogging it seems so much easier to find like-minded people. I’m glad I’m not alone with some of my challenges and fears. Thank you for all your support – I can’t tell you enough, how much I’ve enjoyed connecting!

      Reply
  10. Alison@Mama Wants This

    Thank you for sharing your truths – it cannot be easy. I know it because my own TIATTY post is so ‘tame’ – I’m revealing things that are not super private, just things my readers may not have known already. But it’s a first step towards opening up a little more!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Alison, thank you so much for joining this round of TIATTY! I couldn’t have done this alone! I loved reading your post and was able to relate to so many of the things you said. Yes, opening up is not easy, but I look forward to being a little more transparent myself. In a way it feels as if this post has given me official permission to do so. I hope I’ll be able to find a good balance. I love your blog and look forward to reading more of your posts! Thank you for your sweet words!

      Reply
  11. Laurie Poast

    Congrats on your bravery, Lisa – I admire and adore you! Your courage and your moments of self-certainty are brilliantly inspirational. Thank you for being my friend :-)

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Laurie, your words touched me so much! Thank you! I feel the same about you, and I wish we lived closer! I can’t wait to spend time more time with you. I so look forward to seeing you this summer!! Thanks for all your support, especially throughout the last months. I feel so lucky to know you!

      Reply
  12. Tracie

    Social anxiety is a big one for me.

    But you what I really related to? Your point about sending cards. As I type this, I have a stack of 150 filled out, addressed holiday cards from December sitting in a pile near me. I didn’t send them, and I can’t seem to throw them away. Maybe I should take them to the post office and go for a “Christmas in July” sort of thing?

    Oh yes, and #9? My husband is right at 17 years older than me.

    Thank you so much for keeping this movement going.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Tracie, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I’m so glad I’m not alone with my card habit! I think sending out Christmas cards in July is absolutely acceptable. People always like getting cards, and how fun would it be to receive a Christmas card on one of these 90 degree days :) Oh, and I love that you and your husband have the same age difference as us! I know so very few people that do! Thank you for participating in this round – I was so very touched by your post.

      Reply
  13. Anna

    Lisa, so ein toller Post! Wow, ich wünschte ich hätte auch einen Blog um mitmachen zu können…ist bestimmt ein gutes Gefühl sowas mal aufzuschreiben.
    #4 – #7 treffen alle auch auf mich zu! Ich hasse z.B. Telefonate, selbst wenn’s nur ein Anruf beim Friseur ist um einen Termin zu machen, oder beim Arzt – grauenhaft, da könnte ich ja was falsches sagen. Und Karten schreiben! Oh man, ich bin sogar schon soweit gegangen zu flunkern, dass sie wohl in der Post verloren gegangen sein muss – kann ja bei so transatlantischer Post mal passieren ;).
    Sorry, I was going to comment in English but it just came out more naturally in German. Need to make time to check your lovely blog more often!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Anna, du bist so lieb! Vielen Dank – wie schön, dass dir mein Blog gefällt! Und danke, dass du in deinem Kommentar so offen bist – es ist schön zu wissen, dass es dir ähnlich geht! Die Telefonate! Heute Morgen musste ich einen Termin absagen – und ich musste lachen, weil ich innerlich schon anfing, mit mir selbst zu verhandeln: “ich brauch das ja nicht sofort zu machen – ich habe ja noch 1 Std. Zeit, um abzusagen.” Dann habe ich mir einen Ruck gegeben und beschlossen, es einfach hinter mich zu bringen (yey, Fortschritt!) – ich glaube, ich verbringe mehr Zeit damit, Dinge zu vermeiden, anstatt sie einfach zu machen. Und die Karten! Was für eine Erleichterung, dass ich nicht die einzige bin! Und die transatlantische Post, auf die ist einfach kein Verlass ;)

      Reply
  14. Jenny

    Lisa, thank you for starting this. I am finally getting a chance to read everyone’s posts. I definitely relate to 5 & 7. I procrastinate terribly. Thankfully my work is deadline driven. For me, making new adult friends has gotten harder and harder since I have moved from job to job and had children.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Jenny, thank you so much for joining this round! I’m still catching up with posts myself. It’s so nice to know that you others feel similar in some of the areas I describe. Though I don’t like deadlines, they are really helpful for me too. I think I may need to set more for myself. And I hope for both of us that making friends will become easier again! Thanks again for visiting and sharing!

      Reply

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